Phil Mateja has been an athletic trainer for 45 years and will continue to be, although it won’t be at Hampden Academy any more.
RSU 22 school district has decided to link up with the Eastern Maine Healthcare system. Old Town High School graduate Luke Bartlett will replace Mateja as the trainer at the academy.
Bartlett had spent the past four years as an athletic trainer at the University of Maine Presque Isle.
Mateja, who lives in Orono, had been an ed tech at the academy as well as the athletic trainer for seven years. He taught life skills in the special education department.
“We were very pleased with Phil,” said Rick Lyons, RSU 22 superintendent of schools. “But this will be more comprehensive and will cost us slightly less money. This will be year-round instead of just during the sports seasons.”
Lyons said he has talked to administrators at other schools that use the Eastern Maine Healthcare training program, and it has received good reviews. He explained that Eastern Maine Healthcare has been reaching out to high schools of late.
The 65-year-old Mateja took the news in stride.
“Life goes on. I’m still vertical,” Mateja said. “I had to get done sometime. I’m movin’ on.”
Mateja will still serve as an athletic trainer on a per diem basis and will remain as the assigner for trainers at Maine Principals Association-sanctioned championship events in the North.
“It was a good run. I had a good time. I worked with some great people. This gives me chance to do something else,” Mateja said. “The 10 to 12-hour days were getting a little old.”
One of his new ventures involves working for his and wife Judy’s son, Jeff, who heads up the Mateja Group for Keller Williams Realty in the Portland area.
He has already sold a house for his son, and he said he’s close to selling another one.
Phil Mateja said selling houses is different but he enjoys it, and he also likes working with his son.
The Gurnee, Illinois native, who graduated from the University of Missouri in 1974 and earned his master’s degree from the University of Maine in 1977, has fashioned an impressive resume that includes 13 years as an athletic trainer at the University of Maine, dealing with safety and workers compensation issues at paper mills in Brewer and Millinocket, working for HealthSouth, and working with chiropractor Tommy Vanidestine. He served as the trainer at Brewer High School and has been the head trainer at the Northern (formerly) Maine and state high school basketball tournaments at the Bangor Auditorium and the Cross Insurance Center since 2001.
Mateja said he will also get to spend more time with his grandsons Parker and Chase, who live in Saco.
Follow BDN Maine Sports on Facebook for the latest in Maine high school and college sports.